Number of electric cars, buses, trucks and other e-vehicles are increasing every day.
Governments are giving incentives to buy electric vehicles and to set up ev charging stations to avoid pollution caused by diesel and petrol using vehicles producing carbon dioxide.
It’s a global priority to protect the environment from pollution banning diesel vehicles including boats encouraging people to become green/solar energy users.
Electric vehicle charging business is estimated to surpass 3bn by 2026, globally. Electric cars require an electric car charging network to be able to charge the car anywhere you go.
Electric vehicles would be limited to a short radius around their homes in the absence of such network.
There must be a way for businesses to make a good profit required to pay their employees and themselves to make such profitable network possible.
How to make sure there are enough number of electric cars etc to use your facility?
You could start by signing up vehicles online passing around your home but coming from a distance to charge on their way.
Start a home business if they agree to pay $400 a month or so depending on the usage.
It will cost you as little as $5000 to install such an equipment if you have some space available.
If you want to start a charging station, you will be looking at a capital requirement of $50000 to $100000.
Make sure to register your business name and get all the necessary permits and licenses after you check with your City officials.
Insurance is a must for hazards and thefts of copper wire etc.
There are several companies like Tesla monopolising the charging station market with their own manufacturing of electric vehicles.
Hence there is a high competition over this business and types of businesses that will conquer the upcoming market.
Any charging station network can go into business if it is going to make a profit offering the service which will cover the cost of setting up such a facility.
Tesla is charging $5 for plugin and charging $0.25 to $0.49 for kw/hour, while others seek a secondary gain.
EV Charging Station Business Ideas & Opportunities
Membership based business
Most charging network businesses have a membership scheme. To use a station, the car driver must be a member of the charging network, required to carry a membership card.
The member presents the card at the station to start charging his car. They can also use a smartphone app on their mobiles which reads a QR code at the station.
The American company eVgo has options of a free membership and other options which require a monthly fee.
The networks with free memberships make their profits from higher charging fees.
Some States don’t allow anyone other than electric utilities to sell electricity.
The per-minute or per-hour fees are to abide by such regulations, hence the network is not selling electricity but they charge only for accessing the charging station.
Doubling the charging fee after four hours pressures the car owners to move their cars when the car is fully charged.
Another strategy is to charge by the minute after the car is fully charged, to make sure the car is moved away making room for other vehicles.
In many cases, you do not pay at the charging station. The stations do not have credit card readers or an ability to accept cash.
The membership card is tied up to an account maintained by the network operator, and you have to pre-pay either with cash in the account or give them your credit card number.
Free EV charging stations
You can provide free charging by networking with advertising companies.
Many charging networks do not charge a fee as they put up advertising displays on your vehicle and use advertising fees to pay for your usage.
If your customers don’t mind carrying those advertising logos and stickers on their EV, you can make money by saving them payments as well.
Free stations to make customer to purchase
It’s expected that the longer a customer stays in a store, while his car is charging,he is likely to make a purchase or spend his money to use other services.
Charging sessions can last a couple of hours, making businesses like coffee shops or bookstores or hair salons or shopping malls, etc.to profit being excellent places to stay for a while.
You could have another business like a restaurant or a gift shop to make money while allowing your customers to charge their EVs for free or low payment while they eat or spend a minimum amount.
The customers would appreciate the chance to charge their cars for free but they are naturally obliged to buy something from your store to show their appreciation.
Free stations NGO
Some charging networks exist as a non-profit organization providing a public benefit like eco conservation.
They seek donors supporting environment rather than the people using the stations.
You could look for incentives from the govt to start such a free station.
Businesses with employee perks
If you are an employer, you could pay lower salaries by offering your employees a free charging facility.
Many employers include employee benefits to include free or low cost charging stations.
A problem is charging station sharing among employees.
There’s a limited number of charging equipment and a competition arises between employees over the use of charging station.
The employer could be charging a fee to make sure the employees move their cars when fully charged.
In some cases government have funded charging networks as an incentive.
But many ev drivers come to expect free charging forever.
They are upset when the free charging stations start charging a fee after the grant money runs out.
How much will it cost to set up an EV charging station?
Set up a charging station for under $50000 if you have some space available or rent the space too for additional cost.
Charging station fees cover four times the cost of electricity. Fee might be $0.49 US per kWatt-hour, while the cost of electricity is only $0.12 per KW-hour.
But that doesn’t mean the charging network operator are overcharging because they have to recover the expenses of setting up a station.
Charging network operators must have WiFi in the charging stations.
If a customer calls in for support, the support staff must be able to reach out online to help.
The staff must know when certain equipment fails, and must know of electricity consumption online so they can charge the customer appropriately.
Also staff need to monitor the safety of the charging station through CCTV networks and answer support calls.
Hence, the expenses of WiFi and charging equipment along with the salaries of the network operation staff plus rents of the buildings have to be considered.
Electric car charging equipment maintenance and installation costs a lot of money starting from $50000.
The equipment is a depreciating asset, meaning they’ll lose value every year when they are used.
The equipment of the station will be zero asset value after years of use and should be replaced you should take it into consideration from the beginning as it needs to be recovered from the customers who are using it.
Then there are maintenance costs like an electrician checking the equipment out as a ñas well as maintenance when they breakdown.
Copper wires are valuable and the charging cables are always a target for copper thieves. So the station needs to be monitored day and night with adequate security.
Cost of parking spaces for charging electric cars
A charging station needs a huge space to be used by ev owners while charging their vehicles and for the office for the operational staff.
Charging station etiquette
Sharing limited electric car charging resources needs people to have patience and behave nicely with each other and the staff.
You can partner up with a parking lot owner to set up your charging points there to start your business.
It costs a lot of money to build and maintain a parking space.
The owner of that parking lot will need to receive value for that parking space.
The charging network operator pays a fee to the parking lot owner for setting up his equipment there to be used by ev customers parking there.
Research and Development at charging network operations and electric car companies and charging equipment manufacturers strive to improve the economy and efficiently but it’s a cost that cannot be ignored.
A long-term commitment is connecting cars to the smart grid to help with electrical grid stability and other things which could earn income for you by selling electricity to them.
But that whole idea is still in the prototype phase with lots of remaining questions to be settled.
They’re nowhere near public deployment, and in the meantime there’s lots of money going into research.
Research for more business opportunities
Research is developing a possibility for members of one charging network to another charging network.
Customers should be able to use all charging networks on par like ATM cards.
The problem is not simple and the charging networks must have an incentive to do this other than making it convenient for the customers.
Banks charge fees when customers of other banks use their ATM. On the contrary, charging networks impose a fee on host sites.
The ChargePoint network stations are owned by the host site rather than by ChargePoint.
That makes the host site responsible for ensuring details like a franchise.
In return, ChargePoint offers the host site useful functionality by providing customers.
Host sites are paying those fees, because ChargePoint is the largest charging network in the world with operations in North America, Europe and Australia.
But potential host sites don’t want to pay the huge fees and look for alternatives of joining the network as partners.
You could connect with ChargePoint to become a host of you own or rent a huge space as per their requirement.
The other charging networks offer different business relationships.
In some cases the charging network owns the station, but rents the space from the hosts.
To avoid charging network fees, you can install a non-networked charging station.
There’s no charging network fee or any other complication, but you have the benefit of following your own method for charging a fee.
This is suitable for those host sites willing to cut the usage of electricity rates and maintenance costs as the charging station serves some other purpose like profiting from the customers to use their mall and parking lot etc.
Either the station owner receives charging fees or some other business benefit to cover the cost of electricity and equipment.
Charging networks must ensure reliability to function properly and attract customers in competition with other networks.
Use of Solar can save you up a lot by not depending on the utility company to provide the electricity you need to supply.